Being Mentorable: First-Generation Students of Color Define 'Mentorability'
UNM Mentoring Institute 2019, The Chronicle of Mentoring & Coaching, Vol. 2, October 2019, Special Issue 1
5 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2020
Date Written: October 15, 2019
Prior research suggests many U.S. postsecondary institutions facilitate mentoring programs for their students, but the majority of these programs do not define a student’s “mentorability” or how students can be mentorable. One’s mentorability relates to the personal characteristics a student can bring to a reciprocal relationship to maximize the benefits of the partnership. Limited research has explored how students themselves define their own “mentorability” and what personal characteristics they believe to be important in a reciprocal mentoring relationship. Moreover, prior research suggests first-generation students and students of color may have the most to benefit from a postsecondary mentoring program meant to help these students navigate a predominantly-White and continued-generation system. As a result, this qualitative study conducted in-depth interviews with 13 first-generation students of color attending a predominantly-White institution in the U.S. South to learn how these students view their own mentorability or what it takes to be mentored. Findings suggest first-generation students of color view open-mindedness, flexibility, listening skills, and persistence to be important mentorability qualities for mentees to bring into a mentoring relationship. However, these students also suggested many students do not possess these qualities upon entering a mentoring relationship, speaking to how students may not be prepared to participate in a mentoring program and maximize its many benefits. Students also indicated they desired a deeper personal relationship with their mentor, hinting at how students’ mentorability may be impacted by their perception of their individual mentor. Implications for research, practice, and mentoring praxis will be addressed.
Keywords: higher education, mentoring, mentees, mentors, colleges, universities, college students, students of color, first generation in college students, first generation
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